A/N: Here's the full summary:
Dawnpaw is a new apprentice of ThunderClan, determined and eager to serve her Clan. But her dreams are continually quashed by her callous and sarcastic mentor, Thickfur, who doesn't seem like he will ever approve of her. Sootpaw is an experienced ShadowClan apprentice, arrogant and skilled, praised by all of the warriors including his critical father, Falconswoop. These two cats have nothing in common, yet when they find their minds inexplicably linked, they are forced to question all they have always held to true, including StarClan themselves. A web of deception and fear is woven around them, trapping the pair in a war much older than they could possibly have imagined.
I'm going for over 100k, and I'll need your support to do it :)
The polished night sky looked too fragile for the blood that had been spilled below. Stars twinkled and winked, honored warriors who blazed a golden trail across the sky. There was no moon, and so the land was cast in a tangible darkness, yet something about the cloaking night had changed. It had once enveloped and choked, the source of fear and alive with the metallic tang of blood. Now it was calmer, reassuring, remembering.
Two cats staggered to the top of a moorland hill, the long grass swaying gently against their pelts. The first was a slight grey she-cat, her pale golden eyes glowing gently. Behind her followed a large brown tabby tom, his left ear torn. Despite the fresh scar that ran across his handsome face, he carried himself proudly, his amber eyes steady as they faced the night.
They sat on the rough slope, the light from the stars reflecting off of their torn and blood-soaked pelts. The tom's thick fur had dried into spikes, the maroon and dark brown intermingling over his pale skin. He sat with his tail positioned lightly on his companion's back, a touch that was comforting without being too guiding or direct.
"It's dark," the she-cat said wistfully. Her smoky fur was dappled with the shades of the night. Heather whispered at her legs, caressing them and wiping the blood from her paws.
The tom pressed himself against her. "The sun will rise," he promised. "The sun always rises."
She turned to look up at him, her golden eyes widening as if she was seeing him for the first time. "It's over," she mewed. "But it doesn't feel..."
"Like you thought it would feel?" His answer was wry as he leaned in to lick her gently on the cheek. "Dovewing, I can feel it. The pain... the terror... I was down there for awhile. I... I knew what it was like. Right now, the forest... the Clans... we're healing. It just takes time."
"But, Tigerheart," she mewed slowly, her voice thick with emotion. "I just... I know they're gone. The forest is healing. But are they gone for good? Is this truly the end?"
Beside her, he tensed. She could feel each strand of fur stiffening, each muscle contracting, her body perfectly attuned to hers. Even as he tried to keep his voice calm, she could sense his discomfort, the hints of her younger self. "Why wouldn't it be the end? We defeated them."
"We fought against our own," said Dovewing bitterly. "Cats who should have been loyal to the Clans, not to the Place of No Stars. Cats who betrayed us."
Tigerheart pressed his tail to her flank. His eyes were worn and tired, revealing a wisdom far beyond his age. He had changed, Dovewing realized. There was a time when he would have enjoyed the thrill of the battle, the feel of claws on skin, but not anymore. They both had realized that peace was truly what they wanted.
"StarClan pulled us through in the end," he murmured, turning his gaze up to the band of warriors that watched them from above. "Even they were scared. But Lionblaze could fight. Jayfeather could sense. And you, you could hear, yes, but you did more than that. You were the heart, Dovewing."
She blinked and looked up at him. "The heart?"
"I don't love you because you're special," Tigerheart mewed. "I love you for the same reason that StarClan chose you – you're inherently good."
"Big words," Dovewing teased, allowing her whiskers to twitch in amusement. But as she cast her gaze over him, she once again took in the peaks of dried blood and the missing tufts of her, and her expression dampened. "But... why did StarClan give us powers in the first place? Why did they send us on the journey to end the drought?"
Tigerheart frowned. "We needed to end the drought. It was only your powers that allowed us to do so. And StarClan need cats like you, with powers, in order to protect us against the Dark Forest."
"It was ThunderClan who produced Thistleclaw," said Dovewing softly. "Thistleclaw and Tigerstar. It was our duty to stop them. But... why the drought? Why did I have to hear it in order for us to stop it?"
A flicker of anxiety passed over the handsome brown tabby's face. "StarClan wanted to know if you could, I guess. If they had picked right."
"Like a test." Dovewing met his eyes. For a moment the amber was cold, but after pressure from her own soft gaze, Tigerheart's expression softened.
"A test," he repeated. "StarClan sent you there as a test? Why? To see if you were strong enough to stop the Dark Forest."
She nodded. "If StarClan needed to test me, they must have known that a war was coming. Tigerheart, I'm scared... what if this has happened before? What if we aren't the first cats to have to battle the Dark Forest? What if we won't be the last?"
"Of course we'll be the last," Tigerheart meowed reassuringly, licking her ear softly. "We showed those mousebrains just how strong loyalty to our Clans makes us. They can never beat us. They're gone for good."
"Maybe," she said softly. "But are they dead? They were just spirits in the first place... and there will always be bad cats. I remember a story from when I was a kit... when the Clans banded together to fight invaders who struck with fire in their eyes. What if that was the Dark Forest?"
"That's just a story," he said. "Nothing to worry about."
"I'm scared that we won't be the last cats to do this," Dovewing said hesitantly. "I'm so worried that even though we defeated them here and now, they won't be gone for good. We lost so many... so many cats."
He laid his cheek against hers and closed his eyes, breathing in her scent. "You don't need to be scared anymore. I'm here, and we've won."
Dovewing let herself relax for a moment, comforted by his presence, before she pulled away and blinked sharply. "What if it happens again? Will there be another test? Will StarClan place the power of the stars in the paws of others, just as unwilling as I was? I had no choice, Tigerheart. I was born into this."
"Dovewing, listen," said the tabby, exhaling a heavy sigh. "Like you said, there will always be bad cats. But there will always be good cats there, too. Things will work out."
Tigerheart cast his gaze up to the sky and continued. "Right now, we have just come out of a battle. Things look bleak. But this is the darkest moment before the dawn."
She looked up at him curiously, not noticing as a faint glow of pink was cast across her smoky grey pelt. Tigerheart looked down at her, and despite the weariness in his eyes and the ugly pink scar that stretched across his face, there was a happy tiredness to his face. He was content. Relieved. Ready to live.
"We won the war, Dovewing," he whispered, pulling her close to him with his tail. She allowed herself to fold against him, her heart beating in time with his as his scent wreathed around her. "We'll live to see the dawn."
She sighed and closed her eyes, allowing herself to fall back into him. "Tigerheart..." she murmured, remembering the first time she had realized she loved him, when she had been an apprentice and they had frolicked in the snow, happy despite themselves. He was so different, and she was different – but they were still the same.
"Yeah?" he rumbled, resting his chin over the top of her head. His amber eyes scanned the horizon, catching pale orange and yellow hues as the tiptoed across the hills.
"I love you," Dovewing whispered into his fur.
A purr began somewhere deep within him. Dovewing could feel his chest vibrating, and the motion sent a warm feeling shooting up deep within her. Tigerheart exhaled loudly, and when he replied, his voice was deep and sure. "I love you too."
In front of them, the sun was rising.
X X X X X X X
A/N: Bear with me, I know the prologue is pretty short. The story doesn't actually take place during the time of Dovepaw and Tigerheart, but as you'll see in time, it will tie back to Power of Three and Omen of the Stars soon enough. While my story takes place by the lake generations after these, we're definitely going to see some relation to the Three, and maybe some cameos, I don't know.
Anyways, allegiances are next chapter. So leave a review, tell me what you think, and get a plushie for it? :)
Thanks for reading!